26 March, 2016 40 days of change-Lent, 2016
Wait for the blessed hope–the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13
For many of us, Saturday is our favorite day of the week. It’s family time. We’re off work, or at least we tend to work a shorter day. There’s no church (am I allowed to say that as if it is a positive?). Saturdays are a relief from the daily grind and an opportunity to have fun, to go to the shops, to be active. But during Holy Week, Saturday has become a day of anticipation of Jesus’ resurrection. The church has longed celebrated Holy Saturday as a day to be quiet as the church lays in wait with pregnant anticipation of the life that will come.
I tend to believe that the disciples really didn’t have the hope of something happening on the Sunday. I think they were still living in confusion, hurt and sorrow. We can only imagine all the emotions that would have been experienced that first Easter. The deep sadness as they saw his limp body taken from the cross. The news that Joseph had done the right thing by him and buried him properly, the way he deserved. Then the anger! ‘Deserved! He didn’t deserve any of this’, your lungs would explode with the indignation of the indecency against the most decent man you had ever known. Yet, if you’re one of the disciples there is nothing you can do, save lay low and hope. Doubts are knocking at the door making you wonder what happens now.
When a loved one dies you hope there is life after death, but so often you share the question with the disciples that first Easter weekend –– what happens now? In church settings we are told that Jesus’ own resurrection seals the hope for all of us, for it is by his resurrection we know it is possible for one to rise from the dead. He told his good friends Mary and Martha that he was the resurrection and the life, and then proved it by inviting Lazarus to come out from his grave. He said anyone who believes would have life. We believe. We especially want to believe when it is our loved one who has died. We desparately want to believe when we are peering over the edge of our own death precipe. Do the doubts that sneak into our minds steal that reality away?
The doubts can’t whisk away fact. There’s a resurrection that we will experience whether we believe it or not. Facts are not true or false based on belief, they are based on reality. It is reality that there is life after death. Scripture tells us we will all stand before judgement. Sinners will stand forgiven because on Good Friday Jesus bore their judgement. What our beliefs do is help us get through the Saturdays of life with anticipation rather than with despair, fear and dread. This belief pulls us to the edge of death, whether its ours or someone else’s, waiting with wonder. Belief turns doubt into wonder. I wonder what it will be like. Maybe our series this week should have been called from doubt to wonder.
Postscript: Since writing this blog post a week ago, my dear Dad passed away on 23 March. I’m pretty happy life after death is a reality. I sit and wonder, slightly envious, full of thankfulness….